The Australian High Court and Shrodinger’s client

What is the function of a secondary layer that just negates the first layers conclusions?

I would think maybe the second layer sees that overall the first layer is doing something wrong. It’s using witnesses and using other people to estimate if those witnesses are actually worth listening to, and the second layer just decided that actually no, the first layer failed.

But it just leaves the first layer like that. Doing the same thing but expecting a different result.

Well actually you can have a different result if you have enough money to go to the second layer.

Which raises a second question of are there a number of cases that could go the same way, but for lack of money they don’t? What sort of justice is that where it’s one rule for some people (who have access to a great deal of money) and a different rule for other people?

Perhaps it’s not a justice system. A former justice of the supreme court seemed very focused on it being business as usual to just ignore what the first layer had concluded.

Maybe it’s just humans having an inability to deal with probabilistic thinking – the people involved just go ‘is there any doubt’ and if there is, then the person then being treated as innocent. Could there be doubt as to a witnesses testimony but the accused person actually did the crime? Well of course, but acknowledging that benefit of the doubt may lead to guilty people being proclaimed as innocent would require probabilistic thinking of the odds of which state they are. And the courts are sunk in black and white thinking that deems them as the sole arbiter of truth – unless a bigger, more expensive court says that actually they are the sole arbiter of truth.

I wonder if we could reverse it and lay charges on the victim that they were abused? Could there be a benefit of the doubt that it occurred? I would say so. So that means they were definitely abused? Of course, in exactly the same way Pell is innocent.

But who were they were abused by?

Who knows. Maybe an act of god.

RPG design and looking at a geometric reward increase

It’s been interesting to look at an actual overall reward structure. Roleplay often seems to start at level 1 or some equivalent and you just muddle around in the small currencies of it. And then some games never actually do anything but keep you muddling around. Where are we going to? What are we on track to achieving? Well maybe it sim inclined designers not caring about that, they just want to explore around and never actually getting anywhere doesn’t matter to them. Like they don’t have, in real life, a goal that is situated in the game world. They just want to explore around the game world much like the gods in Jason and the Argonauts watch Jason’s activities through their viewing pool. Amused but not attached.

However, for those who invest IN the game world and want to go somewhere in it, well then if you’re making a game then you want to make sure you’re going somewhere.

What’s this dense text below? It’s the result of some code I wrote to make a geometric progression.


Basically each bracket represents session number. It starts at 3 because the first two had the same value and that’s no good for progression. 3 would actually be session 1.

The value next to the brackets is what you stand to win in a conflict. Basically conflicts are one roll affairs and you would be doing around 30 rolls every real life hour of session play. A session is roughly three hours long.

So during session 1 you’d be able to gain 0.01 coins per conflict.

In session 2 you most likely have gained the ability to face a dungeon where you can gain 0.02 coins per conflict

In session 3 you’ve most likely made it to being able to make…ah DANG! Session 3 and 4 have the same value so I needed to wipe that one out as well but didn’t.

Okay, this is part of the development process….

So i adjusted my code to snip out the first two levels and that pesky repeat


Now you can see the progression.

On session 1 in each conflict roll you will be in with a chance to win 0.01 coin

On session 2, 0.02 coin

On Session 3, 0.03 coin

And so it goes. Each session is once a week, so we’re going for a bit short of a year IRL (because some weeks get cancelled and there’s christmas, etc)

Also in game there will be a chance once every ~20 minutes of player to move to the next sessions earning level early! So you might get to the top at about session 40 or so.

Also you would be risking similar amounts, with the chance (if you’re progressing okay) of winning being just a little over 50%.

It’s a very much ‘play IN the world’ game. Not a game where like a god you lounge around your viewing pool and are simply amused by the exploration that Jason unfolds, yet not invested or attached to it.

For gamers invested in getting somewhere in the game world we have a game of increasingly higher stakes each session, with chances of going higher mid session as well. Until you’re rolling for 820 coins in the latter game. Starting from 0.01 coin and going to 820 latter…you’re definitely working your way up to something. Not just wandering around in the same thing, picking up the same scrap amounts of coin.

Having established this overall spine of progression I’m pretty pumped! Now working on the smaller details feels more important as they tie into the big progression!

Dark Souls/Hypocritical Souls


It’s like a word that comes after a feeling that comes after who knows what. After a natural reflex – a natural responce to certain events. A natural reflex to tell someone off for doing something.

But from the same place in the same chiding individual comes…the urge to do all other things.

Visualize it as a tap – water pours forth. But some of the water that pours forth tries to block other taps from releasing their water.

But, you might argue, some of it is legitimate – who wants one taps pourings to be that it loots your home of your goods? Should not that pouring be blocked?

The thing is that is an intellectual argument – I don’t see an issue as much where someone can formulate things into discussable rules. Maybe they say they get to do X and Y, but you don’t get to do Z. How come they get to do X and Y? Well at least it gets talked about, not just done as if it’s just fine. Maybe there’s room for negotiation in that self reflection.

But without discussion, it’s taps flowing but their flow tries to block other taps. If we take the tap to be a kind of soul, does that make the human soul pretty hypocritical? It insists on flowing and feels of itself it is great in its flowings, even as its flow blocks other souls? Again, one might think of various attacks or thefts or assaults. But on the other hand it can be that someone simply walked a certain way or wore a certain items of clothing or ‘looked the wrong way’ or…so many others. Flows crushing flows. And it goes for any, really – we all pour pretty much the same.

So people act like you should just be the real you and pour yourself out – even as they will reflexively, right from the core, damn certain other behaviors. No thought about it, no discussion. Just the hypocritical soul. Reveling in its outpourings purity and wonderfulness even as those outpourings block the outpour of others.

Nihilistically I guess it makes sense – just animals clawing themselves to the top over/at the expense of other animals. But inside the moral bubble, can people really think of however they want to act as being as pretty as they keep treating it? Such self satisfied states?

Yeah, crushing an outpouring there myself (or attempting to – I’d be surprised if it was super effective). But at least talking about it.

I don’t get the players of Survivor

If I were on that TV show, at the start I would say “Hey, I’m here to try and win – we can’t just be friends and get along because we’ve entered something where we are head to head. We can think well of each other as competitors, but what we’ve all signed up for is nobody is on anyone else’s side. Acting like it isn’t like that – that’s unhealthy”

And the players in the game don’t seem to get that – they start being all chatty and as if they are connecting with each other. And either they are naive in doing that or they are sharks in doing that – quite the two ends of the spectrum.

I mean seriously, trying to act like you’re all nice and someone to be friends with while you’re holding a dagger behind your back? At best the naive ones simply forget about the dagger – they have to beat each other in the end.

Some professional distance makes sense.

But the worst thing is? I think duplicitousness would win over that – someone who can switchblade between acting all nice and friendly yet at the same time planning everyone’s downfall, they are more likely to win amongst a bunch of naive players. They’d get the naive players on side who think they really are friends, they’d destroy the person who was straight with them about everyone being against everyone. Then the duplicitous will get rid of the naive, one by one. Honesty is the losing strategy. Particularly if you’ve given up having a soul anyway. The naive wont believe they’re really against each other even as it’s plain as day. And the sharks will simply leverage the naive against the honest.

I really wouldn’t do very well on one of those games.

Player Character Unconsciousness Vs Death – one very rarely transitions into the other!

There’s an issue in D&D 5e where really a PC is kind of untouchable in terms of mechanics once downed and unconscious. It’s seen as ‘unfair’ to directly attack the PC when they are in this state. In some ways this is good – it’s a soft ‘lose’ condition, in that the PC went down and that feels bad so it’s a way of losing without having to have a PC die (particularly useful if resurrection isn’t possible in the campaign). Some other PC stabilizes them or heals them and then it’s gets back to normal.

So they never die…but on the other hand they never die!

Here’s an idea: The PC has a significance rating – the more significant and meaningful things they do and are involved in, the more points the DM subjectively adds to the rating. It can add up to 25. In a way significance rating is a kind of treasure and the DM could suggest various things gain it (and some things might reduce it)

If the PC goes down the DM rolls an unmodified D20 and tries to get equal to or over the significance rating. If the result does so then an available monster will hit the PC once, but not for a crit! Just a regular hit, making the PC fail one death save. That’s all! Now if the PC A: Has to make a second save and B: Rolls a 1, they actually die! >:)

Even if the DM doesn’t equal or beat the significance rating, the rating goes down by 5 points after the roll. So best earn some more points after that!

This sort of thing I would tell the players before the campaign, either deciding whether I’ll negotiate with the players over it or whether I will insist it’s a requirement (which runs the risk of no one playing. But if something is important to you at that time, it might be better to not game at all than game without it)

The point of a significance rating is that sure, you don’t want that really important character to die. But on the other hand, if they are really important, shouldn’t they be earning significance points anyway? A player can feel they can be more secure in their character without feeling the complacency that comes with plot armour. Keep earning those points!

Capturing the Party

This started out as a reply to this post

Well common wisdom is forced captures are a bad idea – players fight to the death because they play to be bad asses and being captured severely damages the idea their PCs are bad asses. Also it’s a forced capture – there’s no point even playing out the event because there is no uncertainty in the outcome. Depending on who you talk to, this can be described as basically ruining what makes roleplay different from reading a novel (or even ruins what makes it different from a pick a path adventure)

For myself I would never do a forced capture – I would foreshadow that enemy forces might try to capture them, I would have various things they could do to lower the odds of that capture (some I would explicitly say, some I would hint and some I’d leave to the players to figure out on their own). They do enough of these things and I’d use some dice rolls to work out the capture party strength. So they might well get out of it, but if they are captured then they are captured.

At that point you have a question of how much you take from them. Frankly I think of it in terms of a difficulty slider. At the easy end all their stuff and wealth is in a box at the end of the corridor in the cell block they are being held in. At the hard end all their stuff is gone, they should feel lucky to be alive – in fact it’s not really even the hard end if they aren’t dead. Doing ‘what makes sense’ does not make sense. If you are running what could be classed as an easy game and you then suddenly strip everything from the PCs then you will just deliver an unfun game to the players. I’d argue this is a matter of basic human psychology. You can’t spike difficulty – if you’re running at X difficulty, you can increase it a little at a time. Kind of like the players are in a hot tub and you’re heating up the water slowly – you can’t just set it to boil suddenly and think everyone will find that okay because ‘it makes sense that would happen’.

So if you were running an easy game (and come on guys, don’t go  ‘Oh no, I don’t play with kid gloves’, lets be honest with ourselves in thinking about this because it really does matter to whether you make a difficulty spike or just a difficulty increment), then you could try out having all their stuff and wealth at the end of the corridor where there cells are located, but say 10% of their gold is taken. Why did the bad guys take that? Well make up a reason – the bad guys guards aren’t supposed to touch it, but they skimmed some off the top and lost it at the casino already. All game situations could generally result in multiple results, not just one. Look for a path of results that does not spike the difficulty of your game. I assure you that path is there if you look.

Tomb of Annihilation (short play account & spoilers, o/c!)

Omu. The party has 7 of the puzzle cubes.

I’d prepped that the first 15 minutes the players would actually be pursuing a pureblood Yuan Ti who had escaped into some ruins after a fight in the streets saw her brethren. Mentioned it but the players totally ignored it. Note to sell, if a NPC escapes at the end of a session and pursuit is put off till next session, players may be completely disinclined to pursue.

So, right to the long rest I guess? I have an issue with long rests basically making the resource depletion not matter, as it drains out the tension of that resource depletion. So I had a sort of loose system that the more you did in Omu, the more likely you wouldn’t have a night encounter. This has an out of game benefit in that you spend more time on game world events rather than random encounters. Anyway, they had done quite a bit so they got that much wanted long rest and got to the next morning.

I had prepped that the next 45 minutes or so would be negotiating with Ras Nsi and the red wizards for the puzzle cubes they hold. The thing about Ras Nsi is that if you just tell him about the soulmonger, he basically wants to give you the puzzle cube. The book says to leave a trail to Ras Nsi’s base when the party have seven cubes. Okay, heads on poles, leading all the way to the front tunnel.

So do they call to the front door or something, demand to know more?

No, one PC introduces himself with no actual purpose for being there, just saying hi. So the Yuan Ti tell him to tie his hands up and come in. Because they like slaves, really. Why not? Okay, door opens and then the invisible Barbarian wants to block the door. Then there was fighting, then a fireball, then a negotiation with a remaining, surviving Yuan Ti (after the only other survivor was intimidated into submission) and a readied action that could have made things worse. Interesting thing about readied action – whose interpretation of ‘I attack any enemy that comes into view’ is the one to use? If it’s the player, then they can attack anything they want, because they can declare anything as an enemy. Not much point setting conditions on a readied action in that case.

Anyway, Barbarian runs in further, runs into and manages to resist the gaze of Basilisks, then runs away like heck past the monk who had stepped in. The Basilisks march up from where the Barbarian ran from, the monk does not fare so well but shadow steps back through the door as he petrifies, then becomes stone!

There is a further negotiation, which I grant was at my suggestion but it was to be with the Bard closing the door and talking to the Yuan Ti without the rest of the party. As an offering of good will, you see.

Well, the Bard doesn’t die and they seem to come to an arrangement to see the boss, Ras Nsi.

I’m going to skip ahead here, because it really did go quite straight forward at that point – except in the middle of snake people town, they had the gall to ask for more from Ras after he gave them the cube. And I did give more – two healing potions each! And the wizard wanted spells now…that’s not really in the book at all. Actually the healing potions weren’t either, but it’s like almost that the act of generosity was like a kind of precedent that more aught really to be given because the NPC wanted to support them Consumables are okay to hand out but permanent is a different ball game.

All that actually ate up the last hour and forty five minutes of the session! I think I’m going to have the NPCs wear their hearts on their sleaves a bit in future so players don’t try to fight their way in through stuff just because they think they have to. If they get some cues from NPCs and ignore the cues and fight (and who knows, the NPCs might be lying, so that’s understandable), that’s okay. But I’ll make the NPCs a bit less mysterious and a bit overly open on information like that Ras Nsi wanted to see them so come on in. The thing was the book has the front guard wanting a bribe to get in – I thought that’d be interesting to have that resistance that he’s open to being bribed, but I think the players thought they’d have to break in.

In the end we do time extension and do a quick meeting with the red wizards, which a hireling and ex red wizard hireling of the party had arranged. Just a quick ten minutes, unless it breaks out into a fight. The book actually says the red wizards will fight the party once the party gets the second last cube (the wizards having the last one). But…it just didn’t seem necessary or to go anywhere to do that? The party was going to be the wizards trap detectors and clear a whole bunch for them and then die…why kill the thing that’ll die for you? So I based it on whether they could remember their contact with Valindra Shadowmantle to basically smooth over the relation, as the wizards were told by Valindra she’d sent some stooges, but they wanted to test these adventurers for themselves. Like something lurching from the mists of time, the party members who had met her did remember. Then the red wizards asked for her second name. Dammit! So the Bard does a persuasion check to sort of ‘Klaatu barata *cough!*’ their way through it. It wasn’t a big deal test, like they’d fight if the party failed to get the last name. But the party might have to bribe or do something clever or say something clever.

Anyway, they manage to appease the red wizards and they get the last damn puzzle cube! Took about ten minutes IRL to play out. If it had come to a fight, that’d be done next week. Now to be completely confused by the front of the tomb of annihilation next week!

But yeah, that door breach at up time like anything! Shenanigans at the door and multiple waves of enemies, etc.

Game Release: Quick Blade S-rank Killers


The creatures known as the S-rank flood the world. Their name comes from the titles of a mighty race, whose marrow were taken and twisted and mutated by a malevolent force to create an army of killers. Their dark lords gave them the name ‘S-rank’ in a mockery of the race they had used to create these perverted killers.

And now there is a bounty on them and coin has called an army itself, to kill the killers.

Quick Blades Game



[[ Quick Blades Game

Setting inspired by the Prince of Nothing series by R. Scott Bakker

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